The P is Silent – A Peek at Pfaltzgraff

When I was growing up, I distinctly remember our dishes. I can see myself reaching in the cupboard for these oatmeal colored bowls and dishes with a country blue pattern. They looked like this.

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Pfaltzgraff Folk Art (photo courtesy of SwanCreekCottage)

Every time I see these dishes, it takes me back to that split ranch and the smell of onions for spaghetti sauce cooking … I’m Italian and the sauce was cooked faithfully every Sunday. It’s one of my favorite memories. The stoneware we had was by Pfaltzgraff. I prefer some of their other patterns but my mom liked the one above and still has some of those old pieces from the 1970s and 80s kicking around.

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Pfaltzgraff Mugs in Gourmet Brown (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

Pfaltzgraff is a company that has been in business since the late 1800s. But we need to go back to the mid-1800s when Johann Pfaltzgraff, a potter, and his wife Elenora arrived in America and set up a pottery business.

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Pfaltzgraff Bowl in Winterberry (photo courtesy of SweetDaphneVintage)

According to the Pfaltzgraff website, Johann moved to Freystown, which is now part of York, before he finally settled in York, a part of Pennsylvania.

Johann died in 1873 and 5 of his 10 children went into the business. His sons all became skilled potters as many children followed their parents footsteps into family businesses back then.

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Pfaltzgraff Water Jug Mid-Century Modern Design (photo courtesy of HodgePodgeMonroe)

The earliest known pieces are by his son John B. Pfaltzgraff made at their Manchester Pottery company. This pottery used the local red clay known as earthenware. The Pfaltzgraff website states that their customers were starting to look for sturdier salt-glazed stoneware over the earthenware pieces. The Pfaltzgraffs needed to adapt and began importing higher quality clay from Ohio (the most likely place this would have come from at the time).

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Pfaltzgraff York Pottery circa 1940 (photo courtesy of CuriousandVintage)

In 1894 George and Henry, two of Johann’s sons, created the partnership that would become the Pfaltzgraff Company as it is today. That first company was called “The Pfaltzgraff Stoneware Co.”

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Pfaltzgraff 1960s Pear Shaped Bowl (photo courtesy of NightWingsAttic)

They soon outgrew their space and felt the need to expand, and wisely decided to build near a railroad that would expedite their shipments to customers and reach a larger market. They opened this factory in York City located in south central Pennsylvania.

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Pfaltzgraff Utensils Canister circa 1970s (photo courtesy of WillowCreekAntiques)

Two more buildings were added on over the next 8 years. Unfortunately, this factory burned down in 1906 but they managed to salvage some bricks and girders to rebuild the new factory in West York where it is still in operation. Such a rich history that started with one man and one woman.

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Pfaltzgraff Retired Yorktowne Crock (photo courtesy of ParkLedge Antiques)

You can find even more information on this fascinating company that is a true testament to hard work and dedication at the Pfaltzgraff website.

If you have a chance, leave me a note here or stop by the Vintage Eve’s store and check out some more vintage treasures!

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Pfaltzgraff Salt and Pepper Owls (photo courtesy of MyMommasShed)

I like to party at Adirondack Girl @ Heart!

 

 

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Into the Fire

One of the more well-known items that came out the 20th century in the way of dinnerware was Fire-King. I can spot it on a shelf a mile away.

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Fire-King Custard Cups (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

Well, my eyesight’s not so hot these days so maybe a few feet away. But I know it when I see it. Fire-King is one of Anchor Hocking’s line of glassware. It comes in milky white and a number of other colors including a popular color called Jade-ite. It has a luster to it that isn’t just a gloss and it’s very collectible.

 

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Fire-King in Primrose Pattern (photo courtesy of TreasureObsessed)

 

According to Collectors Weekly, Anchor Hocking was originally Hocking Glass Corporation, named after the Hocking River in Lancaster, Ohio.

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Fire-King Jade-ite Bowl (photo courtesy of FranksCollections)

They began in 1905 and made pressed glass. They merged in 1937 with Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation of Long Island City, New York.

 

 

As they grew they expanded into other lines such as plastic and other materials so they dropped the word “glass” from their name and became Anchor Hocking in 1969.

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Fire-King Lusterware Beehive Bowl (photo courtesy of FoundGoodsCA)

Fire-King began its manufacture from around 1940 until 1976. Collectors Weekly says that “Fire-King was a brand not a pattern…” and had many different items in the line. There was dinnerware, mugs, bowls and other items.

There were patterns, too such as Alice that was created in the late 1940s, Jane Ray, Hobnail, Early American Prescut and Rainbow. Rainbow was to be a competitor for the popular Fiestaware that was being produced by the Homer Laughlin Company starting in 1936.

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Fire-King Philbe Custard Dishes (photo courtesy of ArtzyBitz)

 

 

There was one pattern that was only made from 1937 to 1938 called Philbe. It was run in 4 colors but transparent blue, called Sapphire, is the most collected in this pattern. I love finding those elusive pieces.

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Fire-King McDonald’s Cup (Photo courtesy of KanesVintage)

 

Jade-ite and an opaque white called Anchorwhite were introduced as restaurant and institution ware during the time from 1948 to 1967. In 1976 Fire-King was discontinued.

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Fire-King Polka Dot (photo courtesy of EuroFair)
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Fire-King Tulip (photo courtesy of Jiminyvintage)

 

 

 

Fire-King is such a great collectible. An iconic item from the 1950s and 60s that reminds me of times gone by. Not necessarily simpler times, just different. Well, if you get a chance leave me a note or stop by Vintage Eve’s shop and take a poke around at some more vintage treasures.

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Fire-King 1 Pint Baking Dish in Sapphire Philbe Pattern (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

Enjoy your week!

Where I like to party Adirondack Girl @ Heart !

 

Western Wisdom

Over this weekend I listed some soup bowls with handles in my shop.

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Soup Bowls by Western Pottery for Heinz

I liked their look and the sturdiness of them. On the unglazed bottom they were marked “Heinz USA Made by Western.” Well, I know who Heinz is but I didn’t know who Western referred to so I had to research them. As you know, I like as much information as possible for the items I list and because I find this stuff fascinating.

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Western Stoneware Drip Glaze Bowls (Photo courtesy of DocsOddsandEnds)

 

Turns out Western refers to the Western Stoneware Company. According to the University of Illinois Extension,Western Stoneware came into existence in 1906 when seven different stoneware and pottery companies merged.

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Western Pottery Mug (Photo Courtesy of LeVintageGalleria)

These companies were Monmouth Pottery of Monmouth, Illinois, Weir Pottery Co. of Monmouth, Illinois, Macomb Stoneware Company of Macomb, Illinois, Macomb Pottery of Macomb, Illinois, D. Culbertson Stoneware Co. of White Hall, Illinois, Clinton Stoneware Co. of Clinton, Missouri, and Fort Dodge Stoneware of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

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Western Stoneware Bowl (photo courtesy of SwanCreekCottage)

These seven were referred to after this point as Plant 1 or Plant 2, etc. but all were under the Western Stoneware company. They kept the maple leaf logo that Monmouth had started with before they were merged. They produced many lines of stoneware such as crocks, butter churns, jugs and also decorative pieces.

The University of Illinois Extension also notes that some of their more popular lines were Marcrest dinnerware and the Colonial line of stoneware. Monmouth Pottery artware was also popular.

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Western Stoneware Bowl (photo courtesy of WildCrockophile)

They were also happy to put advertising on their pieces. That’s where the Heinz reference comes in. Heinz was just one of the companies that had pieces commissioned by Western. If you remember the post from last week about Watt Pottery, they were doing the same thing. Hey, it paid the bills!

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Western Pottery Covered Casserole (photo courtesy of AstridsPastTimes)
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Western Pottery Jug (photo courtesy of OpalsVintage)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The company had weathered many storms and kept Americans working during some tough times in our history, but according to the Quad-City Times, Western closed their doors in 2006. They lasted longer than many but in the end, they fell prey to out-sourcing and cheap imports, as did other potteries across the U.S. Their pieces, especially their advertising pieces, are still very collectible.

I hope you found this look at Western Stoneware as interesting as I did. If you get a chance, leave me a note to say hi or stop by Vintage Eve’s shop and take a look at some great vintage treasures. See you next week!

Where I like to party Adirondack Girl @ Heart !

 

Watt Did You Say?

 

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Watt Pottery Creamer No. 62

I found something at the store the other day that I mistook for Puriton pottery. If you haven’t checked out this blog yet, take a look at my “Perfect Purinton” post and this comment will make sense. I found this little creamer. It’s hard to see from the photo but it is actually a very creamy, buttery color.

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Purinton Pottery Creamer and Sugar in Apple Pattern

I thought “Oh, Purinton! I know this.” But then I did a quick look up to see what it was worth and found out it was actually not Purinton but yellow ware by Watt Pottery. The design that I thought was Purinton was an apple design but apparently it was a favorite motif back in the day. The patterns are similar but the Purinton apple is open. The Watt apple is closed with a single curved swish of the brush.

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Watt 5 inch Loop Pattern Bowl

In researching the piece before I put it up for sale at the Vintage Eve’s store, I found out that Watt Pottery was an important piece of American history.

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Watt Bean Pot and Crocks

According to the Watt Collectors’ Association, Watt Pottery began in Southern Ohio when the Watt family started learning how to create pottery from W.J. Watt. He had founded the “Brilliant Stoneware Company” in 1886 in Rose Farm, Ohio.

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Watt Ovenware Brown Leaf

Traveling salesmen sold the crocks, jars and jugs they made to general stores and hardware stores throughout Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Indiana. He sold that company in 1897.

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Watt Original Raised Rio Rose Pattern

Funny enough W.J. Watt then worked for another important company with his brothers-in-law at Ransbottom Brothers Pottery in Ironspot, Ohio. It’s funny because one of my favorite bowls is a Ransbottom bowl (check out this post), although that was when they were Robinson-Ransbottom. But I digress, back to Watt.

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Watt Pitcher Tulip Pattern

In 1921 W.J. Watt bought Globe Stoneware Company in Crooksville, Ohio and renamed it Watt Pottery Company. He kept it all in the family as it was also run by his sons, daughter and a few other relatives.

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Watt Nesting Bowls Star Flower Pattern

The types of pottery they made were crocks, jugs, preserve jars and various sizes of mixing bowls, along with some other common stoneware of the day.

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Watt Ovenware Hm’rd Pattern

 

 

They managed to make it through the Depression, keeping employees working 40 hours a week which was a feat in itself. By the late 1930’s, early 1940’s, Watt Pottery needed to adapt to a changing society.

 

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Watt Rio Rose Hand-Painted

Women were replacing their cast iron cookstoves with porcelain self-igniting stoves. Electric refrigerators were beginning to become standard in kitchens across America. Watt created a very popular line of ovenware that could handle very high oven temperatures.

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Watt Ovenware circa 1950s

 

 

 

 

The clay they used was local and was a deep cream color. With a couple of additives to keep it from discoloring in the kiln, these became what we call yellow ware and are highly collectible today.

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Watt Bowls in Various Patterns

The Watt Collectors’ Association says that the original pieces were fairly plain. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that they started really decorating the pieces.

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Watt Advertising Creamer

They tried a couple of designs that did not do so well as they used raised decorations that either discolored or had rough edges. They finally brought in a professional artist that taught 15 people at different stations how to hand-paint designs.

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Watt Covered Casserole Ovenware

Because the pieces are all hand-painted, no two are exactly alike which is what makes them so collectible. The Apple series was introduced in 1952. It was a best seller. See, everyone likes apples!

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Watt Star Flower Soup Bowl

 

Unfortunately, the Watt Pottery Company burned to the ground on October 4, 1965. They never reopened but Watt Pottery is just as popular now as it was then. Their pottery has withstood the test of time and graced many a kitchen over the years.

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Watt Pitcher Rooster Pattern

I hope you have learned a little about a great pottery company that kept Americans working through some of our darkest times. Please check out the Watt Collectors’ Association for a more in-depth look at the interesting history of the Watt Pottery Company. If you have a chance, leave me a comment to say hi or stop by my vintage store and take a look at some great vintage treasures from times gone by.

Enjoy your week!

Where I like to party Adirondack Girl @ Heart !